Bible quoted in $117m Turners suit
A mechanic who tried suing Turners Car Auctions for $117 million has had his claim thrown out of the High Court in Auckland.
Mechanic Peter Prescott cited biblical principles relating to the loss of cattle in seeking summary judgment - initially for $117m, later downgraded to $385,000 - after a derelict 1996 Toyota Levin he had repaired was later repossessed by a finance company and sold by the auction house.
Prescott argued his large claim for emotional distress was ''morally just'' and accused Turners of conspiracy, fraud, theft, trespass and conversion.
Prescott had argued he came across the contentious car in 2006 when it was abandoned, with accident damage and full of rubbish, on Auckland's Upper Harbour Highway.
In a judgment issued this week Judge Patrick Keane said: ''Mr Prescott tracked down the registered owner through Motochek. The owner was in prison and Mr Prescott dealt instead with his mother. He purchased the care for $100, repaired it, and on a date he cannot now recall sold it to a client and friend.''
Prescott said he had initially checked to see if finance was owing on the car and found none. It later transpired Western Bay Finance had a registered security interest.
In October 2006 Western Bay Finance took possession of the car planning to sell it to recover the amount owed. Soon after Prescott registered a security interest on the vehicle, asserting a claim of just over $2,000 for recent repairs.
Turners sold the car to a motor vehicle dealer, who then sold it to a member of the public. Once Prescott's security interest was discovered, the auction company unwound the sales and sent legal letters to the mechanic.
The dispute dragged on, with Turners successful striking off the security interest on December 16, 2007, and Prescott filing a new one a day later.
Prescott contends Turner's chief executive Graham Roberts agreed to settle the dispute for $1,000 - a claim Roberts rejected.
Turners sold the car for parts in mid-2008, netting $1,100. The saga simmered until July 10, 2010, when Prescott sent the auctioneer a demand for his ''morally just'' agreement with the chief executive to be actioned.
Justice Keane said this claim ''rested wholly or partly on biblical principle'' and quoted from Prescott's document: ''Damages should be calculated using the scripture that says if you slaughter my cow you give me your cow plus three more.''
Justice Keane struggled to account for the size of Precott's claim and said it relied on ''inventive'' calculations.
''It is clear to me the only reason why Mr Prescott's claim is in the Court is a result of his highly inflated claim for damages,'' he said.
Justice Keane ruled Prescott's losses, as he claimed them, were likely to be just over $6,000 and were better suited to a lower court. He transferred the proceedings to the District Court.
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